Time for a change of scenery from the everyday routine? Going away for the weekend is a good way of replenishing your supplies of vital inspiration. Thanks to its proximity to everything, Uppsala is in many ways the ultimate destination for a perfect city weekend break. For families as well as couples in love. Here’s how to make the most of your precious 48 hours.
A Saturday of culture, good food and beautiful gardens in Uppsala
09.00 – Eat an ample breakfast at Picnic
Whether you arrive bright and early by train at Uppsala Central Station, or wake up in a bed in the Radisson Blu Hotel, you can enjoy a sumptuous breakfast buffet in the hotel’s own restaurant, Picnic. Freshly-baked bread, crisp croissants, chopped fruit, masses of tasty toppings and home-made scrambled eggs make a perfect start to your weekend in Uppsala!
10.00 – Getting around the sights in the centre
After breakfast, start by heading for the central parts of Uppsala. If you’re unsure of the direction, all you need to do is direct your steps towards the Cathedral and Castle, towering in the distance. Before long, you arrive at the main square, or Stora Torget – the very hub of Uppsala’s shopping district. But we’ll leave the shopping spree alone for a while, and embark instead on a cultural hiking tour.
All of Uppsala’s most prominent landmarks are located in a cluster to the west of the River Fyrisån. Cross one of the bridges, walk past the classic Domtrappkällaren tavern, and continue under the archway, and you’ll be able to admire Scandinavia’s largest and tallest cathedral at close range. The oldest gothic church in the Nordic region is a breath-taking sight, outside as well as inside. After checking out Gustav Vasa’s and Carl von Linné’s graves, you are recommended a visit to the north tower, which houses the Cathedral’s Treasury.
Standing almost back-to-back with the cathedral is the Museum Gustavianum, with its characteristic dome-shaped tower room. Uppsala University’s oldest preserved building is used today as an official university museum. The university was founded as early as 1477, but it is something of a novelty in comparison with many of the objects on display in the museum. Real mummies, Viking helmets, antique coins, and Celsius’ own thermometer count among the highlights. The crowning feature is the anatomical theatre, where seventeenth-century students carried out dissections in front of the public. NOTE: Gustavianum is closed until spring 2024 due to renovations.
Just behind the Gustavianum is Uppsala University’s magnificent main building. The University Main Building was inaugurated under pomp and circumstance in 1887, and since then has been a symbol for the University City of Uppsala. Sit down on a bench in the University Park, and ponder a moment over the university’s much-debated motto “Free thinking is a great thing, but right thinking is even greater”. Nearby you can also find the cosy Fyrisbiografen neighbourhood cinema, and several student associations.
12.00 – Lunch at Hambergs Fisk
You must be feeling a bit peckish after all this culture. This is understandable. If you go back a little the way you came, you will come to Fyristorg. Here you will find one of Uppsala’s acclaimed White Guide-restaurants. Hambergs Fisk specialises only in delicacies from the sea. Order dishes from the menu at your own risk – they are so tasty, there’s a real risk you will want to come back in time for your evening meal.
“On a sunny day, there is nothing nicer than to sit under a canopy of trees in the Botanical Garden, sipping a cup of coffee.”
13.00 – Discover Uppsala Castle and the Botanical Garden
Now that you’ve eaten your fill, you are ready to trudge the Carolinabacken, the first stage of your climb up to Uppsala Castle. Pop into one of the shops along the Drottninggatan before arriving at the newly refurbished Carolina Rediviva university library. Carry on up the hill and keep left – you will soon reach the castle courtyard and the Gunillaklockan.
The palatial Uppsala Castle, which started to be built on the initiative of Gustav Vasa in 1549, has been the scene of many crucial events in Swedish history, and has undergone fires as well as several renovations. The castle now has its original colour; a shade of light pink. Watch out for the governor, whose place of residence is in the castle, and be sure to visit the two fascinating museums: the Uppsala Art Museum and Vasaborgen (opens after midsummer).
Even if you don’t feel like going into the castle, your walk has not been in vain – the courtyard on the upper level has one of the best viewing points in Uppsala. If you look in the other direction, you get an equally impressive view of the Botanical Garden. This botanical masterpiece of a garden in the Baroque style is an oasis of greenery, and a tribute to scientists such as Rudbäck, Linné and Thunberg.
15.00 – Enjoy a coffee underneath the trees
It’s high time to take a break. On a sunny day, there is nothing nicer than to sit under a canopy of trees in the Botanical Garden, sipping a cup of coffee. Café Victoria serves delicacies that are a treat for the eyes as well as the taste buds.
16.00 – Follow the Fyrisån and explore the centre
You can spend the hours before lunch strolling in Uppsala City Garden, following the River Fyrisån, and exploring the shops at the heart of the city. If you haven’t had enough cultural history for the day, you can take a walk past the Uppland County Museum, located at the foot of the cathedral and with the river flowing along one wall of the building. The cinema buff in your company will already know that the building is not just the focal point of Uppland cultural heritage, but is also of film-making history importance. Its exterior was used as a vicarage in Ingmar Bergman’s Oscar-winning film Fanny and Alexander.
19.00 – Drinks on the roof and lobster tacos at Miss Voon
When your feet are tired after a long day soaking up culture, it’s nice to have your evening meal close to your hotel room. Right by the central station, at the very top of the same building as the Elite Hotel Academia, is another White Guide-restaurant – Miss Voon. Start your evening off with a drink in the rooftop bar, and then devour a seven-course mix of Asian and Scandinavian food you won’t forget in a hurry. Don’t miss out on the lobster tacos!
21.00 - Nightcap or night owl
If you still have energy to spare, you can finish off the evening nicely with a nightcap in Picnic’s comfortable bar.
Or maybe the night is still young? Have a look at our guide to bars and pubs in Uppsala – whether you’re a beer fanatic, a music enthusiast, or the life and soul of the party, you’ll find a place that suits you.
Have a good night.
Activities for Sunday – brunch and fantastic shopping
11.30 – Brunch or afternoon tea?
Good morning! Your weekend in Uppsala continues. A little stiff in the body and joints after last night’s adventures? We all have our differences and preferences, but one thing most of us agree on is that you can’t beat a well-prepared weekend brunch. We have a complete guide to fantastic brunch places in Uppsala!
12.30 – Uppsala’s shopping streets
Prepare to shop till you drop! Svartbäcksgatan, Kungsängsgatan and Dragarbrunnsgatan form the main shopping district of the City of Uppsala. You’ll find everything here, from small neighbourhood shops to large chain stores, and several shopping malls. The easiest way to get there is to start from the Kungsängsgatan/Bangårdsgatan crossing, near the beautiful Gamla Riksbank building, and then walk towards and past Stora torget. You pass the Åhlénsvaruhuset department store, and the Forumgallerian and S:t Per Gallerian shopping malls on your way. Read more.
14.30 – Time for coffee at Café Linné
Once you have taken Svartbäcksgatan as far as the Stadsbiblioteket (main library), the cityscape changes to older and picturesque low-rise buildings. Many consider it the street with the highest charm factor in Uppsala. In one of the houses you can find an Uppsala classic – Café Linné. The café is a watering hole for swotting students and other thirsting individuals.
15.30 – Prepare to be stunned by the splendour of the Linnaeus Garden
Directly opposite Café Linné is perhaps Carl von Linné’s finest life works – the Linnaeus Garden. His own botanical garden behind the high fencing can be easy to miss at first, but once you step through the gates you are greeted by an oasis of greenery, where over a thousand species of plants vie harmoniously for space. An amazing scene, especially in the summer time. Linné’s works are fascinating, and in the Linnaeus Museum, which was once the scientist’s home, there is an exhibition in his honour.
19.00 – Finish your weekend in Uppsala at Stationen
Since the new central station was constructed, the old station building has been transformed into a kind of pleasure palace. With its modern touch, Stationen restaurant has managed to retain the inherent charm of the building’s 150-year history, and has created a haunt for good food and drink in different settings. The brasserie in Paris, the bar in London or the café in Rome – take your pick. In short, the perfect place to finish off your weekend in Uppsala!